My father never thought that the Republican Party was a source of entertainment, but in the person of Rush Limbaugh, it certainly is. As its Court Jester of note, Limbaugh has the uncanny knack in making humor out of his lies and insults—a sort of Don Rickles of politics on the Right.
In his latest funny routine, he substitutes his fabrications for the testimony which a Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student, offered to a House panel. In case you did not get it, the laugh riot is twisting her remarks about the medical purposes of contraceptive pills into her request for government-funding of pills for her excessive sexual activities. The encore is his suggestion that she film and post films of her sexual exploits so that he as well as other Americans get at least some benefit for the cost, namely, the opportunity to watch them. You know what a great kidder Rush is when he calls the young woman a “sl*t” and a “prostit*te,” and questions the pride which her parents must take in her. (Asterisks used to get through filters.)
One joke is Limbaugh himself. The man has had four marriages and no children, so it appears that his wives had no need for contraception and thereby preserved their virtue. He reveals a refined taste in voyeurism in his penchant for adult sex films—the habit of a jolly old man getting his jollies. However, some of his humor is inadvertent because of his ignorance. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, Limbaugh believes that a contraceptive pill, like a condom, is needed for each sexual act—such an amusing idea.
Another joke is the bully-boys of the Republican leadership. House Speaker John Boehner found the Limbaugh’s remarks “inappropriate”—a courageous and crushing put down. Front-runner Mitt Romney forthrightly declared that he would not have used such language; I suppose that he would have been more dignified and termed Ms. Fluke a “lady of the night” or a “woman with round heels,” unless, in a play for what he thinks is middle-class authenticity, he resorted to “wh*re” or “c*nt.” The man in the rear, the pillar of religious rectitude and moral zeal Rick Santorum, smilingly dismissed the terms as “absurd,” just too silly to be hilarious, certainly not to be taken seriously.
The silence from all other Republican leaders makes clear that Democratic leaders are kill-joys. (Steve Pearce cannot go out into the wilderness—he hates it—to cry out in it.) But Republican leaders have no reason to speak up. No one in their families uses contraceptives and thereby runs the risk of moral degradation and public defamation. Americans, take heed: Republicans have an abundance of good morals, and Democrats have lots of good sex. So we have to understand that jokes by Republican men about sex by Democratic women, especially when they are revolting, are vicarious compensation.
I am afraid that those who laugh last or not at all just do not get it. They have to get back a sense of toilet-stall humor if they are going to enjoy the humor of the Republican Party. Otherwise, this election year is going to be even longer and duller than usual.